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Modi gift on new tracks

People of Hazaribagh did not disappoint Narendra Modi and voted for the BJP in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections. It’s now time for the Prime Minister-designate to return the favour.

Modi is expected to come to the district in July to flag off a passenger train between Koderma and Hazaribagh.

The occasion will be doubly special as it will also mark the inauguration of the newly constructed Koderma-Hazaribagh railway line, part of the much-awaited 200km Koderma-Hazaribagh-Ranchi link.

A five-decade-old demand of the people of Hazaribagh, the railway project became a reality because of the strenuous efforts of local BJP leader and former MP Yashwant Sinha. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had laid the foundation stone of the Rs 3,000-crore project in 1999.

“Yes, Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi will flag off the passenger train from Koderma to Hazaribagh, which will do a world of good to the people of the twin districts. The newly laid 79km tracks will be inaugurated in July. However, the date is yet to be fixed. We have also not decided on the station — Koderma or the newly constructed Hazaribagh junction — from where the train will be flagged off,” said a railway engineer, East Central Railway, not willing to be named.

Sinha, whose son Jayant Sinha has been elected as the new Hazaribagh MP, also confirmed Modi’s visit.

“I got a message from railway authorities that the rail line between Koderma and Hazaribagh has been completed. But I told them that Modiji will come to flag off the much-awaited train service. Modiji, while addressing a rally in Hazaribagh last month, had promised to come again. I think that getting the passenger train service started by him will be a historic moment,” Sinha said.

Railway officials gave the credit of the entire project to Sinha, then minister in Vajpayee’s Cabinet. They said that he not only got the project cleared, but also kept tracking it all these years.

“Though the project got delayed from actual target of 2007, the first phase of rail line between Koderma and Hazaribagh is finally ready. Last December, a trial run of a diesel engine was undertaken on the freshly laid tracks and later security checks conducted,” said one of them.

The journey from Koderma to Hazaribagh promises to be beautiful with passengers enjoying picturesque spots like Tilaiya Dam and lush forests.

“The train will halt at nine stations like Padma, Katkamsandi and Barhi between the two places. Work for laying the rail line from Hazaribagh to Ranchi is going on a war footing. That leg of the project will be inaugurated anytime in 2015,” an official said.